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A conversation about teen dating violence is long overdue, according to the numbers.Love Is Respect, an online resource for young people to learn about dating violence and to find help, reports that one in three teenagers will experience dating violence before they turn 20.
"Too often, adults tell kids that they can't have the kinds of feelings they're having because of their age," explains Gloria Terry, CEO of Texas Council on Family Violence.
"This message contributes to the disconnect between parents and youth, leaving space for unhealthy or violent behaviors between young people to take root." "Our fear is that victims will confuse early warning signs and red flags for romance, or 'puppy love,'" says Jennifer Blackman, the director of development and communications at the Texas Advocacy Project.
"If they're not caught early, the violence can escalate to physical or sexual abuse.
Imagine a teenager hearing an abuser say, 'If you don't do this with me, I will tell everyone you're a slut.' Or, 'Why do you make me do this?
' These are all forms of emotional abuse that are tricky to spot." It's for those reasons that local organizations, including TAP and TCFV, have worked tirelessly to get laws passed to help promote education and eradicate domestic violence at the teen level.